by Guy Page
Wednesday, March 24, the Vermont House of Representatives gave final approval to these bills:
H. 360 Accelerated community broadband deployment
H. 430 Expanding eligibility for Dr. Dynasaur to all income-eligible children
and pregnant individuals regardless of immigration status
H. 433 The Transportation Program and miscellaneous changes to laws related to transportation
The House gave preliminary approval to these bills:
H. 152 Education property tax
H. 153 Medicaid reimbursement rates for home- and community-based service providers
H. 159 Creating the Better Places Program, with amendment adding $2.5 million for tourism marketing and $1 million for tech-based economic development; $21 million for workforce development; $100K to start a BIPOC business network; $1 million for entrepreneur’s seed fund capital, prioritizing BIPOC, women and veterans.
The bill passed unanimously, with only Rep. Brian Smith (R-Derby) absent. Rep. Tom Burditt of Rutland County offered the following comment: “Is government the answer? In some instances yes. It can provide for some common good, offer some protections from some dangers and enemies and be a safety net for many. There is little question that government tries to do the right thing but at times tries to do too much. In doing so it can crowd out the potential entrepreneurial spirit and innovation of the private sector. I believe this bill has some of that.”
H. 171 expanding significantly the state financing of child care. A roll call vote was requested. Only Rep. Art Peterson (R-Clarendon) voted no.
H. 183 Sexual violence – requires “knowing” consent to sexual acts, covering victims who are asleep, impaired, developmentally disabled, etc.; collects sexual violence crime info for the State; and, establishes an intercollegiate panel on sexual violence.
H. 210 Addressing disparities and promoting health care equity.
The bill defines health equity – “ all people have a fair and just opportunity to be healthy, especially those who have experienced socioeconomic disadvantage, historical injustice, and other avoidable systemic inequalities that are often associated with the social categories of race, gender, ethnicity, social position, sexual orientation, and disability.”
It also allocates $180,000 to create the Health Equity Advisory Commission to “amplify the voices of impacted communities regarding decisions made by the State that impact health equity.”
H. 435 miscellaneous Department of Corrections-related amendments.